19s Run Over The Rhinos

THE U19s came away from Headingley with a fantastic 35-6 win over their Yorkshire counterparts on Friday evening, writes Graham Henthorne.

From the start the Saints were switched on and should have broken their duck after only three minutes as Regan Grace burst out of a three man tackle down the middle. Normally you would start to get your pen out but the flyer went just a smidgeon too close to the full back who just managed to clip his heels and the chance was lost.

But with a little more luck the Saints could have scored three tries in the opening 12 minutes. Ben Morris, Lewis Furlong and Aaron Smith were all held up over the line as the Saints piled on the pressure. However, each time poor handling let the hosts off the hook.
The game developed into a bit of an arm wrestle with each side making ground only to relinquish possession cheaply.

The deadlock was finally broken on 25 minutes as the Rhinos capitalised on a couple of back to back penalties and sets with a try down the right channel.

Undaunted the Saints forwards, led by Mr Perpetual Motion Matty Lees, started to win the battle up the middle. It was his carries, accompanied by the equally impressive Jordan Olmez, that set up the position for Danny Richardson to show and go to score in the right corner. A cracking touchline conversion brought the scores level.

The Rhinos seemed to be feeling the pressure somewhat as twice they instigated a 26 man push and shoveathon on the Saints line. Crucially the Saints weren’t fazed giving as good as they got and with the penalty from the second started the final set of the half on halfway. On the last a shrewd piece of play from Richardson saw him edge the Saints ahead with a well taken drop goal.

The dressing room was positive place at the break with everyone knowing that an improvement on the 55% completion rate would bring home the bacon.

As the second period started the Saints put their plan into perfect action with three tries in a fifteen minute spell which broke the back of the home sides’ resistance.

All of them came on the back of drives down the middle from the dynamic duo of Olmez and Lees with a cameo performance of power running from Jonah Cunningham to boot.

Lees was the first to cross the whitewash with a deserved try bursting onto a short pass close to the line.

The second and third were great examples of power running from Captain Liam Cooper the last following a majestic 40/10 from Richardson.

The Rhinos bolstered their middle defence as the Saints rotated their front row and the scores dried up for a period but they couldn’t hold out forever as the relentless battering finally tolled.

From a scrum on halfway the play broke right. Aaron Smith darted blind from the play the ball and Cooper’s miss pass put winger David Eccleston away. He took it to the fullback before feeding the supporting Matty Costello on the inside and he streaked away from the cover to the sticks.

The increasingly desperate Rhinos again knocked on in their own 10 metre area and two tackles later Smith put the icing on a very juicy cake darting over from close in.
Over 30 points at Headingley and nilling the opposition in the second half. It doesn’t get much better than that!

This was a great team performance and as such it’s always difficult to pick anyone out but in this case it’s relatively easy. Jordan Olmez along with Jonah Cunningham off the bench both provided significant grunt up the middle to support a magnificent 60 minute spell from Matty Lees. Put the metres they all provided in the bank for Danny Richardson to play with and you allow the half back to produce the kind of display he produced this evening. Two majestic 40/20’s and an all-round kicking game which kept the home side backpedalling gave the Saints their best win over Leeds for many years.

Match Summary:

Leeds Rhinos U19s:
Tries: Joe Sanderson (25).
Goals: Joe Sanderson.

Saints U19s:
Tries: Danny Richardson (33), Matty Lees (42), Liam Cooper (49 & 53), Matty Costello (71), Aaron Smith (77).
Goals: Danny Richardson 5.
Drop Goals: Danny Richardson (40).

Half Time: 7-6
Full Time: 35-6


1. Jack Walker; 2. Harry Boyes, 3. Tommy Brierley, 4. Jack Norfolk, 5. Nathan Waring; 6. Joe Sanderson, 7. Jack Wray; 8. Mikolaj Oledzki, 9. Ben Brady, 10. J. Jordan-Roberts, 11. Nathan Barker, 12. Spencer Darley, 13. Cameron Smith.
Subs: 14. Harvey Whiteley, 15. Dyson Nicholson, 16. Harvey Hallas, 17. Ben Longton.

1. Matty Costello; 2. David Eccleston, 4. Lewis Furlong, 3. Jake Spedding, 5. Regan Grace; 6. Danny Richardson, 7. Rob Fairclough; 8. Levy Nzoungou, 9. Aaron Smith, 10. Matty Lees, 11. Liam Cooper (C), 12. Ben Morris, 13. Mike Weldon.
Subs: 14. Jonah Cunningham, 15. Jordan Olmez, 16. Jorge Lewtas, 17. Josh Eaves.

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